Justifications Used to Buy Things I Don’t Really Need, But Do Really Really Want

1. “What’s the point of working so hard if I can’t spoil myself a little?” This one’s a classic, because it’s hard to argue with. Especially if you’ve had a particularly stressful week (or day) at work, it’s difficult to comprehend the idea that you shouldn’t reap the rewards of your labor. This becomes troublesome, however, when that work pays nothing (being a student, for example, or an intern) or very little (like being a freelance writer).

2. “It’s for my health.” It’s really hard to feel guilty spending money on things like gym memberships and vitamins. And why should you? If you feel healthy and look great, you’ll only make more money in the future. Right? Right, guys? 

3. “But it’s on sale!” When you see something you want marked down even a little below it’s full price, even if you didn’t know until that moment that you wanted it, it’s easy to take that as a sign from God that you have to buy it right then. If it’s something you definitely would’ve bought eventually, then this makes sense—but it’s easy to slip into a fugue state and convince yourself that buying a $500 item you don’t need for $450 is basically like finding $50 on the street.

4. “I got a new job!” This is a great one because it means a.) there will be money coming your way soon, so it’s fine to put something on your credit card, b.) you probably need some new work clothes, and c.) you did something awesome and deserve a reward.

5.“I didn’t get a new job.” This one’s a little harder to justify because it means that, in fact, there isn’t any new money coming your way. And maybe you don’t know when there ever will be again. So really, you should save every penny you have, buy cheap groceries and cook all of your meals at home. But none of that matters when you feel like the world kicked you in the balls by withholding something you really want. That bastard owes you. And sometimes what it owes you is a present, regardless of whether or not you can “afford it.”

6. “I have a date!” Sometimes nothing in your closet will do, and you need to buy a new dress or a new bra or at least a new lipstick to be your most confident, charming self.

7. “I don’t have a date.” If nobody else is gonna love you, you have to at least love yourself, right? There’s nothing wrong with taking yourself out to a nice dinner or buying yourself a super thoughtful present that, oh my god, is exactly what you wanted! Just don’t go overboard and start wrapping the presents and leaving them on your pillow for yourself. Or do. ‘Cause why not.

8. Big Ticket Amnesia: This is a great disorder to have. It’s a complete mental block that makes it impossible to think about huge purchases. Some people like to stress out and feel remorse after splurging on something expensive, especially if they don’t “need it” (what does that even mean, anyway?). But what’s done is done, so save yourself some anguish, throw out the receipt, and act like you’ve always owned those $300 shoes.


Lilly O’Donnell blogs about women’s issues for Bust Magazine, and rants about America’s student debt crisis to anyone who will listen. She’s also working on her first book; a biography of her deceased artist father and a study of the creative lifestyle. She tweets


23 Comments / Post A Comment

Ahhhh yes to all of these.

wearitcounts (#772)

“If you feel healthy and look great, you’ll only make more money in the future.” –this is actually very true.

Megano! (#124)

@wearitcounts It is, especially if you don’t get paid sick days!

I mean, if you divide it up to times per wear, it’s totally worth it (if I wear it 200 times in a year).

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@missedconnections Ironically, I still have cheapo crap from H&M in my closet that I bought 5-7 years ago and have worn 200 times, and yet every time I spend a lot of money on a garment, I wear it once or never. Why does it work that way??

wearitcounts (#772)

@WaityKatie yes! THIS EXACT THING. drives me NUTS.

Pumpkin (#2,153)

@WaityKatie I do this too. Nice work dress I spent $60 on? Better save it for a special occasion! Cheap H&M blazer? EVERY TUESDAY!

Mari D (#1,946)

Totally. Somehow no occasion in my current life is ever worthy of my expensive stuff.

Plus, If Kate Middleton wants to meet for drinks one night, I really need to be ready.

probs (#296)

“I’m an adult, and adults must signify their adulthood via wine that does not come in jug form/casual shirts that cost a hundred God Damn dollars/ nice furniture. Once I have signified to myself that I am an Adult, I will start paying parking tickets on time to avoid huge fines/ not eating Chex Mix for lunch/ actually saying hello to people in my office whom I don’t work with directly, eye contact included!”

JanieS (#1,826)

@probs Hello, I think you are me.

Brunhilde (#78)

@probs I will never stop eating chex mix for lunch. Once my mom sent me a giant tub of homemade chex mix and it was all I consumed (other than hot toddys) for two days when I was home with a bad cold. I was 29 years old. Chex mix forever!

My husband and I just bought nice tables, since the ones we owned were 45 years old (but not in a cool way) and falling apart. We went to the furniture store, haggled with the salesperson, felt like we got a deal, and had them delivered.

They look nice, but now we freak out every time our kid puts a glass down on one, hits it with a toy, or my cat steps on it. We paid over $1000 to freak out about our “adult” living room.

What I’m saying is fuck nice furniture; IKEA forever.

The thing I figured out about dates is that usually, they have no idea what your wardrobe is like. So you can wear the same things you wore to a bad date last week, or to a party (as long as there aren’t too many public photos of you wearing it, I guess.) And you can keep showing up in outfits that look totally new to them for a while.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@whateverlolawants EXACTLY I have worn the same “first date outfit” on like 5 dates in the past 2 months. Once I get to about the third date with someone I’m out of ideas, but “luckily” for me that rarely ever happens…

Dirty Hands (#2,407)

But… they’re $239 shoes, not $300 shoes! Does that mean I can buy them?! :D (I say this because this article read my mind. Waaant…)

punkahontas (#249)

Is that the guy from The Walking Dead?

Bee'sKnees (#57)

@punkahontas YES! It took me a solid four episodes of that show before I realized he’s the cue card guy from Love, Actually.

honey cowl (#1,510)

You mean the ridiculous amount of $$$$ I spent on lattes and ice cream this week and last is not justifiable just because I “hate my job” and have been working “twelve-hour days” and often “even on weekends” for a truly minuscule amount of money?

Kate (#1,408)

When I have a really delicious meal I sometimes say okay so there is this scene in Love, Actually where this guy who is secretly in love with his best friend’s wife comes to the door and silently holds up these signs about how much he loves her and one of them says TO ME YOU ARE PERFECT and that’s basically how I feel about this delicious meal.

plumb-bob (#263)

“I’m supporting local business and keeping the economy ticking along.” This is a good one for when you want to feel socially conscious while eating takeaway for the third time in a week, or buying that nice rug from the craft shop.

novembertea (#2,203)

I went out and spent around $350 on clothes in the past week, no shoes or anything else besides tights and knee highs. Most of them were on clearance, and it was all at TJ Maxx. I recently gained ten pounds, and half of my work clothes no longer fit and I have barely any winter clothes. I mean it took me 20 minutes to put an outfit together this morning when it would have normally taken me like two minutes. I’m feeling pretty guilty because I live with my parents and make around $1000 a month. Oh, and thank God for IBR. I put most of it on two credit cards; I’m praying I can pay it back. I used to shop at Goodwill etc. a lot in college, but I have a very hard time finding work-appropriate clothes there. I’m sure that if I lived in a city, second-hand clothes would be nicer but not here in the Forests of Connecticut… anyone else need to buy a lot of clothes lately and feel guilty even though it is necessary?

novembertea (#2,203)

@novembertea Oh, one purchase I feel very good about – I bought a membership to Cardio Express today. Hooray for exercise!

theotherginger (#1,304)

@novembertea I don’t want to make this a weight-comment, but it is. Sometimes, when my appearance changes, I need new clothes. (Thank you salvation army and your two jeans for 20 dollars in March that are now looking worse for wear). Tight pants that are not tight in a good way are not that helpful. Also, exercise makes me feel better, regardless of the results. So, hopefully it works that way for you too.

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